Saying ‘yes’ to owning a second home comes naturally to many people, especially when they start considering turning those properties into investment opportunities. One of the top countries for exactly that is Malta, soaking up the Mediterranean sun between Italy’s Sicily and the North African coast.
Over centuries, various cultures and nations have claimed the idyllic island country, including the Moors, Romans, French, and British. Thankfully, you don’t have to take up arms to own your dream house with a gorgeous view from the balcony.
Browsing through a real estate’s featured properties, there are only a few steps involved if you want to buy a townhouse on the magnificent shoreline. In fact, many have already gone that route, especially after several Malta citizenship by naturalization changes, where they can qualify under the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES).
Why Buy Malta Real Estate
Purchasing immovable property in Malta, whether commercial property or residential property, is a safe and secure investment, as buying Malta real estate can be one of the best property transactions you could do in Europe.
Not to mention, the cost of living in Malta is incredibly low compared to the UK, USA, or other EU countries. This means if you’re planning on retiring in Malta, you’ll get to enjoy plenty of benefits.
Top Reasons to Invest in Malta
Possibility to use the property investment to contribute towards one of three investments required for Malta’s naturalization program
Warm Mediterranean climate
Vast selection of property listings for residential and commercial properties
Excellent living standards
Open door to the EU
Low taxation rates
Politically stable and secure country
Where to Buy Malta Real Estate?
Officially called the Republic of Malta, it consists of several islands, but only the largest three – Malta, Gozo, and Comino – are inhabited. The capital, Valletta, is located on the largest island. With a population of around 500,000 people, it is the world’s tenth-smallest country by area, and with so many people packed into the island, it is also the fourth most densely populated sovereign country.
Malta has two large urban zones, and you’ll find modern apartments, historic houses, and even a commercial property or two to satisfy your needs. Before you begin your property search, you’ll have to understand that where to buy real estate in Malta largely depends on your lifestyle preferences and whether you prefer city life or the countryside’s peace and quiet.
In general, you have two options for buying immovable property in Malta: either buy a property by itself or under what was commonly referred to as the Malta citizenship by investment program.
It is more accurately a citizenship by naturalization scheme since the Malta citizenship by investment changes occurred. Non-Swiss, non-EEA, and non-EU citizens can qualify for citizenship by naturalization under this scheme, provided they invest substantially in Malta and adhere to the program’s requirements.
Tigne Point in Sliema is also an excellent location for luxury homes, villas or penthouses. The area was once left derelict, but redevelopment has made it an excellent place to search for townhouses or the like. The Point Shopping Mall opened in 2010 and is the largest mall in Malta. Winding through narrow streets, there are plenty of opportunities for photographs of Malta’s unique character.
Best Cities to Buy Property
Some of the best real estate investment opportunities can be found in the best cities of Malta, outside of the capital city. Sliema, St. Julian’s, and Gzira have listings with incredible property values. These cities are renowned for having a wide range of restaurants, nightlife activities, shopping centers, as well as stunning seaside lookout points.
Valletta and Mdina are also good cities to buy homes in, as they boast beautiful architecture, a rich culture, and offer a more fast-paced lifestyle. If you’re more into a laidback country life, then either Zebbug, Rabat, or Gozo are good options where you can escape from the city noise and relax in a traditional village atmosphere.
Just north of the Grand Harbour entrance in St. Julian’s Bay is the beautiful Portomaso Marina. Here you can find a wide selection of luxury homes and featured properties while tapping into the nightlife that many people seek.
Malta’s diverse properties mean there is no shortage of property types for foreign buyers to choose from. Rest assured, you’ll be able to find everything on your property search, from apartments, maisonettes, villas, historic homes, and captivating older properties to terraced houses, bungalows, farmhouses, and modern listings at incredible property prices. If you are looking for a commercial property, you can find that too.
Today, much of the property purchased in the Republic of Malta has been snapped up by foreigners and decorated in retro style. In fact, Malta is famous for its blend of traditional Maltese architecture with a modern twist.
Malta's Property Market: History and Overview
The property market in Malta has been experiencing unprecedented growth these last few years. In the past decade, the Maltese real estate industry has enjoyed consecutive growth, both in the number of transactions and in overall volume of interest.
This growth is largely attributed to the number of international buyers moving to Malta or buying property in Malta for the sake of qualifying for the Malta Permanent Residence Program. The rental market has also been equally successful, where owning rental property is not only considered as a lucrative business model but an excellent route to yielding a high return on investment.
Purchasing property in Malta remains in demand within the Maltese islands, with home ownerships accounting for 80 percent of purchased properties. In fact, the Maltese government noticed a particular increase in demand for apartments in the last decade, both for residential purposes and as rental investments.
The Central Bank has attributed this growth in international interest to Malta’s residency and citizenship programs and to the stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers as well.
At present, the asking prices for Malta real estate properties are usually around:
- €232,913 for a one-bedroom studio
- €400,000+ for three-bedroom apartments
- €549,118 for three-bedroom duplexes
- €2,938,107 for a four-bedroom villa
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Buy Property in Malta
Requirements for buying property
Non-residents can easily buy property in Malta, provided they obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit. A fee of €233 is charged per permit, subject to change at the government’s discretion, with the permit usually being issued within 35 days.
An AIP permit is not needed to buy properties in ‘Special Designated Areas’ (SDAs) or in the case of EU citizens who:
- Have been a resident of Malta continuously for five years
- Want to buy a primary residence to live in
- Want to purchase properties for rental investment purposes
Furthermore, foreign nationals and EU citizens who are considering buying property in Malta are only allowed to own one property in the main territories of the Republic, usually for owner-occupancy purposes. However, they are permitted to purchase more than one property in Malta’s ‘Special Designated Areas’.
Malta real estate for rent
Owning Maltese real estate for rental purposes is possible under certain conditions. Properties owned by foreigners can be rented out only if they are valued at over €233,000 each, have a swimming pool, and are registered with the Hotel and Catering Establishments Board. Additionally, foreign-owned properties can only be rented out for short-term lease agreements.
Real estate in Special Designated Areas
There are various luxury real estate listings for sale across the Republic. These luxury developments are built in prime locations across the Maltese islands and have porters, a reception area, pools, and parking facilities.
The government of Malta continuously lists such qualifying real estate in ‘Special Designated Areas,’ and as such, you aren’t subjected to any restrictions, nor do you need an AIP permit to purchase them.
A key advantage of buying real estate in SDAs is that it gives you the same rights as a Maltese national, whether you’re an EU citizen or not. The current Special Designated Areas are:
- Portomaso Development, St. Julians, Malta
- Tigné Point, Tigné, Malta
- Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta
- Madliena Village Complex, Malta
- SmartCity, Malta
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tignè, Malta
- Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala, Malta
- Pendergardens, St. Julians, Malta
- Mercury Towers, St Julian’s, Malta
- St Angelo Mansions, Vittoriosa
- Vista Point, Marsalforn, Gozo
- Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
- Quad Business Towers, Mriehel, Malta
- Southridge, Mellieha, Malta
Taxes on Purchasing Property
Anyone buying property in Malta must pay some kind of tax on the real estate they acquire. Purchasers usually pay a five percent stamp duty during the property transfer. Then, one percent is paid on the promise of the sale agreement, while the remaining four percent is paid during the final deed of the transfer.
Note that Maltese and EU citizens who have been resident in Malta for five continuous years are entitled to a reduction in the rate of stamp duty from five percent to 3.5 percent on the first €150,000 of the property acquisition fee.
Buying property via Malta Citizenship by Naturalization Program
If you’re a foreign national thinking of relocating to Malta, you have a couple of visa program options available to you.
The Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CES) program, which is more accurately referred to as the Maltese Citizenship Act Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, is one such example that provides qualifying investors with eligibility rights for the Malta passport, on the condition they make a substantial combination of investments in the nation, and comply with the program’s residency requirements.
The primary investor must make an exceptional direct investment of at least €600,000 or €750,000, depending on the residence period selected – 12 or 36 months, and must invest €700,000 in residential real estate, or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum which must be maintained for five years.
Moreover, they must place a compulsory donation of at least €10,000 to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental approved organization or society in Malta.
Malta passport benefits
There are many advantages to having a Maltese passport, including financial and personal stability, global mobility, immediate access to the EU, and the right to work, live, and study anywhere in the European continent.
The tax system is also particularly advantageous to foreigners with a Maltese residential status. As such, individuals are not taxed on foreign-sourced capital gains or foreign-sourced income.
Real estate transaction costs
- Five percent stamp duty
- One percent to three percent notary fees
- €600 searches and registration fees
- €233 AIP permit fee (where applicable)
Process of Buying Property in Malta
1. Hire a notary and start your search
2. Obtain a promise of sale
3. Pay the deposit fee
4. Ensure your property has a legal title
5. Gather your finances
6. Sign the property transfer agreement
7. Get your keys
8. Clear taxes
1. Hire a notary and start your search: The first thing you should do is hire a notary, and preferably a lawyer who practices property law in Malta. Then you can contact an estate agent to start your search for a real estate property that meets your unique needs.
2. Obtain a promise of sale: The next step is to negotiate the contract details with the seller until you obtain a written contract called a Konvenju, or a ‘promise of sale’.
3. Pay the deposit fee: Pay the deposit fee and the first fifth of the stamp duty, which is similar to a tax on property acquisition in Malta and accounts for one percent of the agreed purchase price.
4. Ensure your property has a legal title: Your notary should conduct necessary searches to ensure the property has a legal title.
5. Gather your finances: Apply for a bank loan if needed.
6. Sign the property transfer agreement: Once all conditions are met, a final agreement is drafted and agreed upon by both parties.
7. Get your keys: The price is paid and the buyer gets the keys.
8. Clear taxes: The seller pays any taxes they may owe from the property’s sale.
Is Purchasing Property in Malta Worth it?
Malta has one of the strongest real estate markets in the world, ranking particularly highly in the European region. There are many advantages to buying property in Malta: Fantastic weather, one of Europe’s safest countries, great government incentives for businesses, the chance to get EU citizenship, and more.
As a small Mediterranean country, Malta has something to cater to everyone, from partygoers to islanders and entrepreneurs – Malta is the ideal place if you’re looking to invest in Europe.
Buying property in Malta has long proven itself a strong investment. Not only will you be able to yield high returns from your investment for decades to come, but if you choose to buy real estate under the citizenship by naturalization scheme, you and your immediate family members will have a chance at acquiring Maltese passports in as little as 12 to 36 months.
Property Specialists for Malta
If you’re considering buying property in Malta and need more information before you place your investment, you may speak to one of our real estate specialists to assist and guide you in your search for a prime property.
We are a boutique investment firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families. At Global Citizen Solutions, we can simplify access to property investments, provide local insights, help with legal assistance, tax planning, and more — all while ensuring an efficient, personalized, and confidential service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Property in Malta
How do you buy real estate for sale in Malta and Gozo?
There are plenty of reputable real estate companies or migration consultant firms like Global Citizen Solutions who collaborate with reputable real estate agents that can assist you with your property sourcing and acquisition. Currently, there are several property developments in Gozo that offer reasonable investments, with an incredible selection of listings that may fit whatever budget you have.
What are my options to buy real estate in Malta?
You can find more than one lucrative real estate opportunity in Malta, and can either buy real estate by yourself or through Malta’s citizenship by naturalization program. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to make a real estate investment of at least €700,000 or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum and meet other investment requirements.
What are the laws regarding rental property in Malta?
A new reform of rental leases for private residential properties was launched in January 2020. The new law enables landlords to register their rental properties with the Housing Authority. In general, if you’re thinking of buying to let in Malta, it’s possible and can be profitable. Through property investment, one earns double the profit income in rent and capital growth.
What is the tax on buying property in Malta?
The tax on buying property in Malta varies depending on whether you’ve been living in Malta for five years prior to purchasing the property and/or are an EU citizen. Usually, the stamp duty for the property acquisition is five percent, with exceptions for EU citizens living in Malta.
How much is a property for sale in Malta with a pool?
Property for sale in Malta with a pool usually costs upwards of €500,000.
Where are prestige properties in Malta located?
There are many prestige properties in Malta. These are common in ‘Special Designated Areas,’ and the added advantage is that you don’t need to get an AIP permit if you buy them. The reason these properties are prestigious is because they’re modern buildings with state-of-the-art facilities.
Do I need a Malta property specialist to buy a property?
While you can buy property by yourself in Malta, it is highly recommended to consider hiring an estate agent or property specialist. They can walk you through a detailed analysis of the property market, what areas to consider buying property in, as well as help with acquisition, legal and tax affairs.
At Global Citizen Solutions, we’re experts in property investment and relocation solutions, and have helped hundreds of families acquire homes in Malta seamlessly. Contact us to discuss how we can best assist you.
Can foreigners buy property in Malta?
Absolutely. Foreign buyers can purchase Maltese property as private individuals or as applicants to the Malta citizenship by naturalization scheme.
Is Malta real estate expensive?
Depending on whether or not you want to apply through the Malta citizenship by naturalization scheme, Malta real estate prices can vary, however, they remain affordable.